Episode 104 – Leave Some Room for Cream – Discussing Empathy With and Without Vulnerability

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Who are we kidding? A conversation about the relationship between vulnerability and empathy requires more than one “session”. Join us for further discussion about the differences between empathy and vulnerability as well as why Rebecca is a walking example of empathy without vulnerability and Erin oozes empathy with vulnerability. Which one are you?

0:00:09 – Speaker 1
Hey, it’s me, Erin. Thanks for joining us on the More Love podcast. Do not tell Rebecca, but this podcast is about empathy. She likes people to think she’s dead inside, but the truth is she’s a big time feeler who has truly helped me uncover that empathy is my superpower. Here she comes.
0:00:28 – Speaker 2
Hey, Bestie, Hi love.
0:00:30 – Speaker 1
What are you doing? Oh, just getting ready to host a podcast. A podcast About what Life? Our life as best friends who are more like sisters.
0:00:41 – Speaker 2
Yay, I love us and I can’t wait to share our stories with the world.
0:00:45 – Speaker 1
Especially the ones that involve us pushing each other right To be our most authentic selves.
0:00:50 – Speaker 2
Oh man.
0:00:52 – Speaker 1
Okay, I think it is safe to say we are pouring from an empty cup today. It’s been a week, it has been two weeks and today is the cherry.
0:01:08 – Speaker 2
Oh yeah, In fact, we’re literally walking in here.
0:01:12 – Speaker 1
It was a lot, it’s been a lot. I think this might be the best time for me to bring in my room for cream analogy that I like to use because I feel like maybe that’s going to make its way into the podcast at some point. So room for cream means, you know, when you go to a place like our favorite coffee place, lisa.
Bean and you go there and you say well, you say you personally say hi there, hi, may I please have? I would like the rainforest crunch please. And they’re like, yeah, absolutely what size? And you’re like I’ll have a medium every time. And then they’re like hot or cold and you’re like I’ll do it hot today, right, this is classic. And every single time they say you need room for cream, and you said yes, I do. Or you say I got to have some oat milk please, I would almond milk instead.
The room for cream part is the important part, because when they say do you want some room for cream, I feel like that is just a life analogy, specifically for moms. At least we can speak from that experience, because I try to say constantly I have to leave room for cream, and what that means for me is I cannot live my life constantly to the max, to the top of the cup, where my energy is overflowing, my commitments are overflowing, my connections with people are overflowing, because then, inevitably, at that moment when my coffee cup is to the top, I realize, oh, I got to have some cream. Whether that be an issue with my child or something that comes up, that was unexpected. And what happens when you go to put the cream into an absolutely full cup overflow all over the place.
0:02:57 – Speaker 2
Well, I dump mine. I dump a bunch of it into the garbage every time.
0:03:01 – Speaker 1
I’m like they didn’t leave enough. That’s not you, that’s not you.
0:03:10 – Speaker 2
I thought you said you were going to leave some room.
0:03:13 – Speaker 1
Here’s that you fill that up to the top, and then they fill it to the top, and then you turn around and just dump it right in the one quarter of it into the garbage can, and then you’re like I put my own cream in here Every time I’m storing my life too.
0:03:27 – Speaker 2
Yeah, yeah, that’s actually really good.
0:03:30 – Speaker 1
I really appreciate that. So, essentially, porn from an empty cup today and the room from cream analogy. So whenever you hear us say got to leave some room for cream, it means that essentially we need to be making sure that our energy and our investment in what it is that we’re doing has some degree of room for the unexpected energy shifts, the too much right, so you’re not super overflowing and incapacitated.
0:03:57 – Speaker 2
The other. The other cool part about you and me is we just like intuitively good cop, bad cop is the wrong analogy, but it’s very clear immediately who whomever has the more full cup, oh yeah, the other one immediately has to be like it’s fine. I got this and I got to manage it because if I contribute and overflow that, then this is my favorite example, it was literally last Monday when the whole, like everything, started right.
0:04:32 – Speaker 1
And you call me it’s 847, which everyone now knows. Two minutes after the time and you said what are you doing? This is good. And I said I was sitting in the parking lot at Aldi and you said we’re not good. No, we’re not in a good place.
0:04:49 – Speaker 2
We’re not. No, no. After I said that I go, were you planning on going in there? And you said no and I said, well, I do need some coffee. Could you go in there and then come to my house, because you’re not okay?
0:05:01 – Speaker 1
You are not okay. We’re not just going to sit in the parking lot at Aldi right.
0:05:05 – Speaker 2
And then I made you get on FaceTime and I was with you when we went into the store, because I’m not sure if you would actually follow through.
0:05:11 – Speaker 1
Yeah, because I was not okay. I know it was not energy hasn’t ever been in that place before I know. I know it was borderline.
0:05:20 – Speaker 2
I mean, I even texted your husband, I said, and she, I got her. She’s over here. Not sure when she’s going to be home, but I’ll just keep in contact with you.
0:05:30 – Speaker 1
And I’m going to need you to step it up. Here’s what I need you to do before the end of the day. And he was sweet, didn’t?
0:05:36 – Speaker 2
he say I got it.
0:05:37 – Speaker 1
Yep, we got it. He nailed it. That’s the team approach. I’m pretty sure that at that point, when you told me you contacted him and that’s what he said, that I started crying and we’re on FaceTime and you said oh no, no, we’re not. Nope, we’re not crying. What are you doing? Let’s get out of the car. We’re not going to sit in the Aldi parking lot anymore. Nope, all done. And did I get your coffee?
0:05:55 – Speaker 3
Sure Dead.
0:05:57 – Speaker 1
Sure Dead Right. So that is one of my favorites. That my cup was, you know, barely at the bottom, like it was. It was not full at all and you were like I have some coffee to spare. Let me help. The problem is, in the last two days both of us have less than half full coffee cups. I know, and we’re doing it, I mean we are pulling it out here, but it’s like it’s been tough, it’s a lot Yep.
Yep, I think we should set an intention. I agree. I think we should figure out how. What’s. What’s the state of this podcast was the state of our energy, and you know the best way to do that with our tarot cards. I got them all I got them all spread out.
0:06:45 – Speaker 2
Good, so I put the energy in there and then Aaron’s going to shift. You’re going to tell me when to stop. No, I know which one I want. Okay.
0:06:51 – Speaker 1
May put your finger on that one too, the one that you want. Is that it? Oh interesting, that was not at all where I was going. I’ll tell you. I got close my eyes.
0:07:00 – Speaker 2
Okay, you tell me it’s going to be my middle finger, okay.
0:07:05 – Speaker 1
Okay, I’m ready Go. Yep, that’s exactly it. I knew it needed to be on that side. Yeah, okay, okay.
0:07:11 – Speaker 2
So what are yours?
0:07:12 – Speaker 1
first, or my first I do mine first.
0:07:13 – Speaker 2
Okay, so the intention of this podcast for you is the nine of one I got the nine of ones again. The nine of ones is good. It’s called defense Great.
0:07:23 – Speaker 1
0:07:24 – Speaker 2
Oh, I got the two of cups partnership.
0:07:28 – Speaker 1
Okay, now get your little book out and read the little Diddy, so nine of ones. Do you realize they always get the ones I know? Remember the one time I picked three ones in a row.
0:07:39 – Speaker 2
That was well. You are the queen of all things. Who’s that what that means? That’s what it means, all right, meaning defense. This nine sees you exerting yourself, exerting yourself to the full, protecting your job, your property or otherwise, defending your actions. I cannot keep reading this. I can’t, I can’t. This is Yep. Yep, this is every morning.
0:08:03 – Speaker 1
Every morning we read this.
0:08:04 – Speaker 2
I’m like okay, you may have made sacrifices in the past and feel that you need to justify these by staying put. I can’t keep reading this, I know, I know. However, you may feel the need to ask yourself if you’re holding on too tightly due to fear. Is this need for constant vigilance and exhausting habit rather than a free choice? Oh, I can’t stop it. It’s exhausting habit.
0:08:33 – Speaker 1
It is an exhausting habit. It’s not a free choice, do you?
0:08:37 – Speaker 2
want the advice. Yeah, oh boy, can you?
0:08:40 – Speaker 1
hear this. I don’t know. I’ll let you know at the end.
0:08:44 – Speaker 2
Protect what is yours by all means, but free up your thinking, create some mental space for the future. No, I can’t stop it. Did we just talk about some room for creme? Which, by the way, when you say the word creme, it makes me think about some other things. It was really difficult.
0:09:03 – Speaker 1
I’m sure you mean donuts.
0:09:06 – Speaker 2
Yeah, that’s it. That’s it. Okay, let’s read mine. Oh my gosh, was that spot on, or what? Mine’s going to be dead nuts Are you ready? Yeah, two of cups which, by the way, they look like those things that Jesus’s blood is in.
0:09:22 – Speaker 3
0:09:22 – Speaker 1
What is that called the chalice?
0:09:23 – Speaker 2
Yeah, yeah, okay, I think of the Holy Grail, oh, the Holy Grail for mom Yep Indiana Jones.
0:09:31 – Speaker 1
Yes, my daughter just started Washington. She loves it. Oh yeah, those are awesome.
0:09:35 – Speaker 2
Oh yeah, we’re all okay. Partnership this card predicts love, equality, the meeting of hearts and minds, which benefits all of your relationships, from friendships to romance. It also reveals a commitment or promise, such as an engagement or marriage or an emotional investment in a shared project. Yep, I can’t. Yep, this is a healing card, so if your relationship has tested you recently, it reveals that all will be well. You can expect someone close to you to show their love, know that you are trustworthy and dependable. Advice appreciate love and trust in your relationships.
0:10:12 – Speaker 1
Well, it was so well, so much for you being dead inside. I mean, is that the whole podcast and one card? It said embrace the love, let it in, touch your friendships, let the light shine.
0:10:28 – Speaker 2
Think about it. We just talked about the fact that with you I play good cup, bad cup, and when you are not okay, well, I’m never okay. But when you’re not okay, I’m like, but I am and I’m gonna make this work. You know it’s very important to me because you know you being the foundation if you’re cracked good, I know it’s actually a really weird experience for me to play the cracked foundation.
0:10:55 – Speaker 1
I know I’m not used to that. Nope, I mean when all these happened, talk about vulnerability, I know.
0:11:01 – Speaker 2
Right the fact that you admitted it to me Well. I mean I usually do.
0:11:05 – Speaker 3
Yeah, but this was the next level.
0:11:07 – Speaker 1
This was the next level, I know.
0:11:09 – Speaker 2
I was incapacitated in my car sitting there staring out the front at all these, and if you didn’t live in a different state than me, I would have come and picked you up.
0:11:19 – Speaker 1
My God, you say that all the time. I just wanna be clear it’s 30 minutes.
0:11:23 – Speaker 2
That’s very far away. Mike, children packing overnight bag when we’re coming to your house for dinner. I know it’s 30 minutes. It’s very far. I can’t drink my wine and drive home. No, yeah.
0:11:34 – Speaker 1
It’s too far for that. Yep, yeah, this is fascinating. So I thought maybe today we could go back to the discussion that we had last session. You know you love how I like to calm sessions. I know they’re a pest.
0:11:54 – Speaker 2
I’m gonna play these right here.
0:11:55 – Speaker 1
The relationship between empathy and vulnerability, because I loved having that conversation with Greg, wasn’t he great? Oh my God. Yes, oh, greg, now we’re besties on Instagram, you are oh, I’m happy to hear that. So I loved that conversation that we had. And then I also remembered after that conversation that I had written down some categories associated with empathy with vulnerability, empathy without vulnerability, vulnerability with empathy and vulnerability without empathy. And I think the going through of those different sort of sex, if you will, is important SCCTS, I can’t, I can’t Is important for us to sort of better understand the relationship between-.
0:12:53 – Speaker 2
I know what I’m thinking right now.
0:12:54 – Speaker 1
I’m pretty clear yeah, leave some room for a career. Pretty clear, and I couldn’t think of a better term to use to describe them, because I’m born from an empty cup at this point and so, of course, I had to say the word sex after that. So I thought maybe we could go through some of these categories, talk about them, maybe provide some examples and talk a little bit about the relationship between empathy and vulnerability in a little bit more detail. Does that feel doable today? Sure, all right. So the first thing I have is empathy with vulnerability. So empathy let me go back to my notes from before the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, and vulnerability is a state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed.
So empathy with vulnerability my example for that was a close family friend has a child who’s on the spectrum and my experience of watching him try to engage with other children and have those children not accept him For me brings up a tremendous amount of empathy. I feel for him very greatly. I want to just be in his skin, trying to help him navigate those relationships. But I didn’t see that as potentially a time where I was being vulnerable. I wasn’t really putting myself out there, I was essentially just having empathy for him. Or would that be? Is there vulnerability in that? Because just the process of me being able to have empathy and to get in his shoes is a rather vulnerable experience.
0:14:48 – Speaker 2
I am not sure if that was a yes or no question, but I agree, I’m like I’m not sure what she I just keep going back to. Is it with him or is it with the parents? Hmm, from an empathy standpoint, and vulnerability Because he’s a child, right, I mean you could be vulnerable with a child, but would they perceive it as that or whatever? But when I think about potentially having a conversation with the parents, depending on your relationship with them, is this you said a close family friend, right? Someone who you’re very close with. So having that conversation could be tricky, could be the vulnerability aspect.
Yeah, because you can absolutely empathize and you can have a lot of conversations around that. But then how are they going to? Do they even want to talk about it? Do they have their own sets of feelings about it? Have they worked through that? Are they in denial? Are they ready to tell you how they’re really feeling, or are they feeling very protective, like those can be tricky. Tricky situations, specifically when it comes to talking to a parent about their child, even when you’re approaching from a place of love and empathy, because sometimes that’s hard to hear as the person who didn’t necessarily ask for it. I mean, it’s one thing to make an observation at a birthday party or a family party and the parents a little bit oblivious, because this is just natural, this is just how it is, and then for you to bring that up to them could be. It could be interesting, it could go one way or the other.
0:16:37 – Speaker 1
So the empathy is the process of acknowledging wow, I’m feeling for this child and the fact that he’s unable to engage. But the vulnerability comes from potentially talking to the parents and saying hey, I’ve noticed that so-and-so has trouble in this particular way. Have you noticed the same?
Because that may leave me open to backlash and so You’re being judgey, I was thinking too from the standpoint of that actual example, not bringing in the parents, but with the child. I think you made an interesting point, which is is it possible to be vulnerable with a child? And so I think that that’s very true. If I went up to this little boy and I said, hey, I’m noticing that kids are not responding as much to you, or have you tried this, or have you tried that that might be a vulnerable place for me to be, especially with a child, because he might not have the social skills or expectations associated with those social skills to essentially be able to say to me oh, thanks so much for that, I’ll think about it. He might say what are you talking about?
Or he might potentially respond in a different, in a different or more difficult way. Exactly.
0:17:45 – Speaker 2
And you just don’t, unless you know them intimately, like you just know their personality, right? I mean, I guess with a family friend it would be a little bit different, but maybe it’s just a change the scenario. It’s you’re at the park, you know, with your child, and they’re playing, and you notice somebody, a child, who’s having difficulty. Right, you can approach it, you can go up to them and have that conversation, or you could bring your child and say, hey, can you go and include them? And then that’s a whole nother level of how do you have that conversation with your own child who originally wasn’t, didn’t have the awareness and notice and then how are they gonna respond?
Are they gonna be like, oh sure or no, I don’t want to, Right? So then you have this whole nother level of conversation also.
0:18:38 – Speaker 1
What I think is interesting for me put an asterisk in this is vulnerability does not feel like an option, it feels like a necessity. To me, I don’t think that you feel the same. So in that situation where we’re talking about the child with his parent or the child and me talking to the child, You’re asking me a question now.
0:19:00 – Speaker 2
You know I have to say something. I know and I’m not saying anything.
0:19:04 – Speaker 1
Right, I am going to the car and reading my book, that’s right because you, yes, you’re like, I noticed that Right, did you have empathy for it? Yeah, in this fake scenario.
0:19:13 – Speaker 2
Are you aware?
0:19:14 – Speaker 1
I’m very aware and I’m very uncomfortable and I don’t Really yes, You’re uncomfortable because of what the child’s experience is, yes, and you have then the ability to shut off this part of yourself that says I’m not going to engage with that because is that the vulnerability piece? Yeah, I can’t. Isn’t that interesting. Turn it off, right?
0:19:35 – Speaker 2
Yeah, turn it off, turn it off, turn it off.
0:19:39 – Speaker 1
Turn it off.
0:19:40 – Speaker 2
So here we gotta go.
0:19:41 – Speaker 3
The baby’s gotta go Go home.
0:19:42 – Speaker 1
Look at the time. Look at the time. That is interesting. And here I am. I have to talk about it. Right, I cannot leave that playground If I’ve not talked to the child or the child’s parents, or I have not intervened in some way.
0:19:59 – Speaker 2
I know that’s why we don’t go to the park together. Because I cannot.
0:20:06 – Speaker 1
I can’t here I have the best example of this. Okay. So this is an example of let me look at my categories here Empathy and vulnerability. Oh God, which example. What are you giving? I went to Target.
0:20:21 – Speaker 2
Oh God, I was not with you, I know, can you imagine?
0:20:25 – Speaker 1
if you were.
0:20:26 – Speaker 2
Nope, I went to Target. I couldn’t even listen to this story. Now I gotta listen to it again, do you remember?
0:20:31 – Speaker 1
in the car. 100%. You were like I’m so uncomfortable right now, Mm-hmm.
0:20:36 – Speaker 3
I’m getting uncomfortable again.
0:20:37 – Speaker 1
I went to Target and I’m walking out of Target with my husband and my child and my child’s friend and don’t I hear massively loud banging coming from the Target?
0:20:50 – Speaker 2
bathroom. Any other normal person is like gotta go, no one.
0:20:55 – Speaker 1
I’m a little yelling as well, mm-hmm Right Now, in this case, you’re feeling, are you feeling, empathy?
0:21:03 – Speaker 2
No, you’re not feeling any empathy. There is something not good going on in there and I want nothing to do with it. Okay, nothing.
0:21:11 – Speaker 1
Okay, no, now I take all the items that are in my hand, I hand them to my husband and my child and I say, hey guys, just go out into the car. It looks like I might need to take care of something and I walk right into that bathroom. Of course you do.
Like you’re the owner of Target. Yes, you’re our Target employees with their shirt things on, standing outside Right. None of them are going in. No, of course not. I have to go in, I know. So I go in. And there is a young woman.
0:21:39 – Speaker 2
I’m assuming. Wait, I need to. When you were telling me this story, I immediately thought you were gonna tell me that she was giving birth in the toilet and you assisted. That’s where I thought it was going when you originally told me this story, and then I got more uncomfortable when it wasn’t a birth.
0:21:56 – Speaker 1
Oh, you wished it was a birth. Yes, okay, yes, all right, it’s fine Okay it’s totally fine.
0:22:01 – Speaker 2
It’s totally fine because that would have been like. I would have applauded you for doing that.
0:22:05 – Speaker 1
Wow, thank you I would have done that too. I know, I know, yeah, I would have.
0:22:09 – Speaker 2
It’s fine, let’s do this when lots of noise and things are happening in there.
0:22:12 – Speaker 1
Yeah, it’s fine. Instead, it was a head banging on the door of the bathroom and crying and just someone totally outside themselves. And I realized when I walk in there that it is just me and this woman who’s in the bathroom and I say, hey, I’m here, your face, I’m here, you’re not alone in here. Right, you’re feeling what?
0:22:47 – Speaker 2
I am so uncomfortable. And the person says you don’t even know what this person looks like no, nothing, no, because they’re in the stall.
0:22:55 – Speaker 1
They’re banging there, they’re in the stall, they’re banging head as well. And here’s what I’m thinking I’m here, you’re not alone, we’re gonna get through this situation right. And I just need you to know that the presence is here, that we’re here. You know, it’s just us in here. And she said I’m not in a good place. And I said I can tell, I can tell, right, I can tell. And I said and you know what, we can get to a better place, tell me a little bit about what’s going on. And I say in this moment, I’m a mental health professional, I’m here, I can help you. Now, that’s important to the story in my mind, because that establishes trust In my mind. Just by saying, you know, I’m someone who is at least somewhat trained in this area tells you we can get through this thing right.
She immediately started to soften and she started telling me some of the situation associated with why she was in a bad place. One of those items and there were a few of them was that she had missed her bus transportation. Now, you know that I am not great about thinking on my feet when it comes to coming up with alternatives, right, cause if you’re supposed to take the bus and the bus didn’t show up, you just better wait there for three hours. Because I’m not thinking that there’s alternative things that can be done. Cause I’m incredibly just clear in my thinking about what needs to happen and I don’t know where this came from. But in this moment I said, oh hon, that’s not a problem, we’ll take care of that. I’d be happy to put you in an Uber to get you home. And she said you would. Now, that’s all I needed to hear, cause I’m like absolutely, is that what it took to get us from this place to this place? Absolutely, an Uber ride, right?
So eventually she comes out and where am I? Right in the middle of the bathroom, and I have my arms open. It’s time for a hug. I can’t. It’s time for a hug. Right, she’s in a place. I’m here, I’m ready to support you. I have my hands open. I said bring it in. Like we’re on like a soccer team together or something right? I said bring it in. We got this girl. We got it. She comes in. You know she’s crying. We are hugging in the middle of target bathroom.
0:25:27 – Speaker 2
I can’t, you’re feeling what right now I am but?
0:25:33 – Speaker 1
What part is it?
0:25:34 – Speaker 2
Is the hug. Yes, why are you still talking to her? Oh, she’s struggling, she was struggling, but you should have already got the Uber and moved on. Just the Uber and then we’re done.
0:25:44 – Speaker 1
Yes, oh, there’s so much more, I can’t. There’s so much more there. So we’re embracing in the middle of the bathroom and I said take a minute, just take a minute, we’re gonna figure this out. This is not a problem, we’re gonna get you exactly where you need to go. She said I really appreciate that. Thank you so much. You know, tells me a little bit more about her struggle. I said I’ll step out of the bathroom. Why don’t you just take a minute? And then, when you’re ready, come on out and we’ll talk about next steps? And she’s like okay, okay, I really appreciate that.
Well, don’t I walk out of the target bathroom? No joke, there are three target employees standing outside of the bathroom. They are beside themselves. They do not know what is happening in there. So here I come, walking out of the bathroom, and I say cause they’re staring at me? Right, all set in there, it’s not a problem. And the woman says it’s all set in there. And I said yeah, we’re all set, we’re all set. I said someone’s going through a hard time. It’s not a problem, she’s gonna be okay, I’ve got it all taken care of. They do not know what to do in this moment. Right, I don’t work at Target Some days. I wish I did.
Well, they probably already called the cops. It’s possible. I’m telling you, there’s three people that are standing outside. They are not sure do we go in? Do we not go in? How it is about handled In this moment. I’m very clear that they need to not go in there because I have this under control, right. Right, Where’s my family? I don’t know, in the car. You know who knows what the heck they’re doing.
I do find out later that my husband, who needed to stay in the car with the children, right, was concerned that I was not okay, right. So did appreciate that later on, right In my mind. That didn’t even cross my mind. I was not even thinking that I wasn’t okay. I got this Right. So I’m standing outside the bathroom. She comes out and I say are you better? You doing okay? She’s like I’m doing okay. And I said let me ask you a question how are we doing with food and how are we doing with clothes? Right now, she’s like food and clothes. I said yeah. I said you have enough clothes, do you have enough food? Right, cause I gotta go through all the essential elements. I know you got mazlals, hierarchies and needs working over here, right, I gotta make sure we’re okay. She said I’m okay, I’m okay. I said you know what you don’t have right now that you need.
0:28:14 – Speaker 2
Oh my God, I know exactly what you’re gonna say.
0:28:16 – Speaker 1
She said what I can’t and I said you need a coffee from Starbucks. Of course you do. Once again, yeah.
0:28:24 – Speaker 2
Have you ordered the Uber yet?
0:28:26 – Speaker 1
Who. I have it up on my phone. I don’t know where I had it, oh, okay.
0:28:30 – Speaker 2
Okay, we can’t just ask her that. We gotta see if she needs a coffee. She gotta have a coffee. Oh my God, she’s had a rough day.
0:28:36 – Speaker 1
She missed her boss, right. So I said we gotta get a Starbucks. She’s like, really. And I said absolutely. I said my recommendation is the mocha, but you know what I really want, you know. So then I asked her for her address. I put the address in Gentleman’s, gonna show up in like six minutes. I said this is perfect. So we go over to Starbucks, we get the coffee. I tell her she can get whatever size she wants to. I’m immediately thinking of you, because this is what happens without them all time. Right, you’re like I need to have a coffee and I’m like get what you want Swipe, swipe, right it doesn’t matter, right.
So here I am making sure that this woman has her coffee and she says to me, as she’s throwing her straw wrapper into the garbage, can? She says thank you for being I’m gonna get emotional Thank you for being so nice to me. No one’s been this nice to me before.
0:29:37 – Speaker 2
Maybe if you don’t bang your head on the stalled this is why you have a little heart.
0:29:46 – Speaker 1
She’s struggling. She said thank you for being so nice to me and I thought it’s just as simple as making sure that she has her Starbucks, getting her in the Uber right, making sure that she’s okay. So get her in her Uber. I give her a therapist recommendation to my favorite therapist downtown Rochester who I believe is still accepting clients. I tell her jokingly I now know your address, so you better follow through, cause I know where to find you right. She gives me another hug, which I greatly appreciate. Get her in her Uber, give her a little wave. Go to my family’s car. They’re all looking at me like I have 17 heads. They do not know what is happening. Right now. My son, always inquisitive, says mom, where are you at? And I said somebody needed my help, buddy.
And that is the story of empathy and vulnerability all at once. How do you hear that? This is a genuine question. How do you hear that and keep walking and not respond? Is it fear? Is it it is? Is it desire to pretend it’s not happening? Yeah, is it not feeling confident about how the situation would be handled? Like what is it that keeps? Not just you, I would say honestly, a majority of people.
0:31:27 – Speaker 2
Clearly the target employees weren’t gonna manage it either.
0:31:30 – Speaker 1
Yeah, they actually are paid to be there.
0:31:33 – Speaker 2
But I guarantee you there this brings me right back to the RD days, when you had to do my job for me, not adequately trained. Quote unquote, because that is not my personality, that is not my go-to. I am not running in the burning building to help people.
0:31:51 – Speaker 1
But in my mind I didn’t do anything overly therapeutic in that case. I simply recognized that someone was struggling and I used words to offer support, guidance a hug, a Starbucks coffee and it’s okay, everything will be all right. My struggle is that that feels just so innately human to me, because that’s who you are at your core. But then I assume everyone else has that quality right, and this is where you say to me absolutely not. That’s why this is your superpower and that’s where I remain constantly surprised and confused by just this simple human relationship.
0:32:38 – Speaker 2
Bystander training, any of that? We watch that stuff on TV, right when we’re like somebody’s clearly struggling and people constantly walk by. Now you, you’re right up in there.
0:32:48 – Speaker 1
And so is that. Would you consider that the walking in in that situation is that vulnerability?
0:32:56 – Speaker 2
Yes, because what if you were rejected?
0:33:00 – Speaker 3
What if she called you?
0:33:00 – Speaker 2
names. What if she attacked you? What if I mean, I got? What if she’s delivering a baby? I mean, granted, if that were the case, you’d run out and be like call 911 or whatever.
0:33:12 – Speaker 1
Like those kinds of situations, but I think that for me is pivotal when it comes to empathy and vulnerability together, I would have told you empathy is my superpower, and it is right, because I just do care very deeply. But I think what I lack in recognizing is the extensive amount of vulnerability that I show regularly without recognizing it as vulnerability. I don’t call that vulnerability.
That’s a good point In my mind. I just assume this is just what you’re supposed to do. Why would anyone do anything different? Right I don’t. When you say there’s a possibility that she could have rejected me, this might sound twisted man, but there’s a part of me that’s like if she rejects me, I’m going in harder, with more vulnerability. Yeah yeah, isn’t that fascinating.
0:34:02 – Speaker 2
I would lean into that. No, that’s so, absolutely. But I know you. That makes perfect sense because and again, this is why your career is so it’s not a career, it’s a lifestyle. But that’s why my lifestyle is my lifestyle, right? Because you don’t need to be trained on these things. These are natural. You’re curious, you lead from curiosity and compassion, and there’s always a story behind everything, and what you’re presenting is not real. It’s just it’s what you’re presenting. There’s always deeper to it, and so that makes perfect sense. I do not think that that’s natural.
0:34:43 – Speaker 1
And I have to agree with you, because I walk around disappointed most of the time that people aren’t responding in those particular ways. But for me that was just sort of a bit of an eye-opener associated with the difference between empathy and vulnerability. And, yes, many can have empathy. You said you had empathy for the fact that this person is banging their head against the inside stall right, Absolutely.
0:35:06 – Speaker 2
that’s terrible and I feel really bad about it, but I’m not getting involved.
0:35:09 – Speaker 1
But the vulnerability piece of the taking that next step and running the risk of having that be sort of a response that you might get is just doesn’t feel like a safe risk to take, right. So love that category that was. That was empathy with vulnerability. I have, like, some arrows here that have me a little confused, so let me move on to empathy without vulnerability. Here’s what I wrote down Watching someone struggle to do something like give a presentation, but just acknowledging that that’s what they’re going through without having to be vulnerable as a part of it Is that a fair?
0:36:05 – Speaker 3
0:36:07 – Speaker 1
That is empathy, and that’s where I live 100% of the time. You live in empathy without empathy. You live in empathy without vulnerability.
0:36:15 – Speaker 2
Yes, yes, or acknowledging it or talking about it, or telling you that I’m empathetic, like I’m feeling what you’re going through. I just process it in my own head and then walk away.
0:36:31 – Speaker 1
That is fascinating. That’s where you live.
0:36:34 – Speaker 2
You would have to go up to that person afterwards and be like you nailed it, even if it was terrible. You first you fill out the comment card with all these specific things because you need to make sure that that person was seen and heard, so like sometimes even quotes I mean all the things. In fact, I’m surprised that you don’t record certain things Like right, so fill that out, then you turn it in, then you need to approach them and then you even go so far as to be like you know what. I need you to come and speak to my company Like you will like work this person up so much. Every time Yep, every time I love them. My comment is get some training.
0:37:21 – Speaker 1
I know Well, because you do have empathy, because I have empathy so much, I’m like you could.
0:37:26 – Speaker 2
But here’s how you’re gonna. My empathy comes out in a coaching, even with my kids, like I have so much empathy for them and I’m like I’m gonna fix it. I’m gonna fix it and I’m gonna tell you how to be better so you no longer need to struggle. That’s my way of you know, like the target example girl, next time you have these problems we don’t bang our head on the door. We walk out into the target guest help services and say I just missed my bus and I need help, what can I do? And I guarantee you, someone over there will give you some suggestions, offer you some advice, all that kind of stuff you need to help yourself. That’s my point of view.
0:38:06 – Speaker 1
And this is why I love you so much, because I think your style right. What is it Empathy without vulnerability? It gets a bad rap. Yeah, it gets a bad rap a lot of the time Because it’s essentially okay, so she’s gonna problem solve it, but she must not really care about it.
0:38:26 – Speaker 2
That’s not true. We care about it very deeply.
0:38:27 – Speaker 1
You care a lot about it. That’s not the reason why you’re wanting to fix it and why you’re wanting to put that energy into it. You know.
0:38:34 – Speaker 2
I never thought of it like that, that you cared a lot or that it’s the empathy without vulnerability.
That’s why I wanna fix things On that. What’s that thing called where you have like 36, not personalities 36 strengths, strengths quest or whatever? One of my top five is maximizer, and that’s what a maximizer does, and, as a person in higher education who worked with students, often I was not the one that was empathizing. I mean, I was empathizing with them, but I was always like nope, how are we gonna help ourselves? How are we gonna make this better? I was not the one that was like sympathizing or being compassionate. I was always like, nope, we’re gonna fix it, we’re not gonna be in that place and you eat. People either liked it or they didn’t.
0:39:26 – Speaker 1
And have you personally had reactions to yourself associated with being a fixer, knowing that you have empathy but like not going to that other place? Have you ever that vulnerable place? Have you even judged yourself associated with how you respond in those situations?
0:39:50 – Speaker 2
I think it depends. It depends. So if I establish, let’s just say, as an ongoing relationship with a student or with a coworker or something, if that person is genuinely growing and moving forward and making changes and in a better place, I will then have more empathy and sympathize. It’s almost like you have to earn it. You have to earn it and you have to do some sort of work. You gotta have some sort of skin in the game before I share anything Interesting At all at all. And maybe once you’re worthy, maybe, maybe, and then I’ll test it for a little while and you fill any of those tests.
0:40:41 – Speaker 1
Right back. We’re done, we’re done. So we’re never going back either. I mean, you don’t know, you’re done, but you’ve done it. Oh yeah, right, you’re done. With a smile Done.
0:40:48 – Speaker 2
Yeah, I’ll stop. So it depends. Every situation is different.
0:40:56 – Speaker 1
Because I think a lot of the times, even in our own relationship, we joke that you’re the heartless one and that I’m the bleeding heart, and I do think that there’s this judgment associated with that where we’re like, oh my gosh, it’s so nice, erin’s so wonderful, she’s gonna go save the day.
All that, rebecca, she is so difficult or she’s not gonna give you right.
But I think we found, especially over these last two weeks and all of the stuff that’s been going on, there is a time and a place and a necessity for each one of these approaches, so long as they both come from an empathic place.
Yes, okay, there’s so many times, even when I’m in Aldi and wanna just wallow in the experience of the vulnerability and where I am, that you’re like I need you to go get some hummus, I need you to go get my coffee, I need you to do this and do this. You come over and we’re gonna do these things right. You were the fixer in that situation If we were both wallowers, if we were both in that place or if we were both Mrs Fix-its and none of us were going to that other area. I think that’s part of that compliment, but what I realize now has not really been fair is the fact that we often talk about your ability to connect your empathy without a tremendous amount of vulnerability as a secondary, or less than sort of approach to handling things, and I don’t think that’s fair.
I think that maybe we need to think about it as a very different way of approaching it, as opposed to. It’s easier to see where my approach pays off in terms of immediate impact, but I would say it’s not okay to operate from that place day in and day out. It’s exhausting, right, as we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks. There’s a lot of side effects associated with coming from a place of empathy and vulnerability together. Right, but that’s what I mean about the judgment.
0:42:57 – Speaker 2
I don’t know if it’s fair to just assume that you’re this heartless spatch over here who doesn’t care, because you do care very deeply, very deeply, but yes, and I also don’t have the most kindest delivery you know I’m not just recently one of our staff meetings. You know we’re having a conversation and I’m feeling a whole lot of certain ways because my thought process is just different, even though we’re all speaking the same language. My thought process was different and I literally said I’m going to say something that’s gonna come across as very unpopular or maybe not even. It may not even be received well, but I have to say it because my I’m coming from empathy from you as an owner and my best friend and somebody that I want to succeed, and I don’t necessarily. I didn’t necessarily agree that the direction the group wanted was appropriate and if I said nothing I would not be okay, I would not be okay and then I would try to talk about it with you and you would be all sorts of confused and I’m like I just I have to put it out there to the group because they have to know where I filter all the things that I do, where I filter all things through. That’s the only way I could put it.
And I said, even when we’re having conversations and I’m saying things to you, I said I’m not even gonna use people’s names, because it’s not about people, it’s not. You’re so relationship oriented and I’m so. Facts is not the right word. I’m so what’s the word? Like literal, I don’t know, just like concrete, maybe, and I’m like take people, personalities, names, any of that stuff, just take it out of there, and that’s hard for you to do because it’s all wrapped into one for you and for me it’s like no, this is very clear and we have to make choices within this way of doing things versus and then filter in your way of doing them. But you’re going to see, it’s always gonna be a conflict unless we do things a little bit differently. So it’s not about not being kind or not caring or not having empathy. It’s about fixing, I guess, and making appropriate decisions that don’t waste time, effort or energy. I hate wasting time, effort or energy.
0:45:20 – Speaker 1
I hate it, but you hate it because it comes from a place of caring about people and respecting them, and where I can relate with this is there are many times that I you’ve heard me say before as a supervisor, one of the most caring things you can do for one of your fellow employees or colleagues or whomever is working for you, is be brutally honest with them about their performance and what you need to see differently right. That’s another area I think we connect, because what I hear you say is I care so deeply that I want your success to be an important part of what happens here and I want to contribute to that success. And if you are not successful, I don’t want to feel like I’ve led you astray, that you’re a failure, that whatever right, it’s my parenting style too.
0:46:07 – Speaker 2
I agree Very much.
0:46:08 – Speaker 1
Completely, very much, absolutely. And I think that without that framing or without maybe leading first, with.
I’m saying this because I care so much about you, because you’re right back to that staff meeting. It was not three minutes after that staff meeting that you immediately called me and you said I’m really sorry for the direction that took in the staff meeting, 100%. And you said but I care so much about you that I needed to make sure that you were going to be okay or protected, or that this situation was. That is the tiniest little degree of empathy with vulnerability, because you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable with me to say it’s because I care about you. That was an emotional risk. I could have absolutely said don’t ever do that in a meeting again. It’s inappropriate, right, Absolutely.
0:46:58 – Speaker 3
But what did I?
0:46:58 – Speaker 1
say to you I know you love me so much and I know that’s exactly where it’s coming from and I see you in that place and appreciate that about you. But I wonder if that’s part of the reason why empathy without vulnerability is something that is really a lot of people’s MO, because they don’t have someone on the other side, yeah, yeah, who, when they take that risk to be vulnerable, says I see you, I appreciate you, thank you for doing that. I know you love me so much.
0:47:28 – Speaker 2
I know that’s why you did that right and just to be able to have that dialect. I mean, you’ve experienced this with supervisors or colleagues or anybody in your life. I’ve experienced that more often where you are shut down and it’s like nope, no, your role I don’t care if you care. You know you can have all the feelings and the care and the knowledge in the world, but you don’t hold the title, so just sit there, whatever right. We’ve all experienced that. So I think when you do have an opportunity to be vulnerable and it’s accepted and again, the testing right.
You and I have tested for years of each other, so it’s very easy for us to do that. It’s very easy for us to say to each other I’m feeling a certain way right now. We just had this conversation the other day. My daughter’s going through some things and all you wanna do is be supportive and I’m feeling like a crappy failure and I am doing the best that I can. And reality is, you know, you thought I was getting mad at you, but I’m not getting mad at you. I’m being quiet because I’m afraid I’m doing the wrong thing. And you’re like I’m really not getting mad at you, I’m projecting onto these other people, blah, blah, blah. And so it wasn’t even about us. But you had enough. You were vulnerable enough to say I need to say what is happening right now.
0:48:51 – Speaker 1
Yeah, it was a here and now moment and you were able to hear. It wasn’t it?
0:48:54 – Speaker 2
Yes, yes, and it was really good because in my mind I’m like, yes, I feel that tension, but I’m not mad at you and I’m sorry if I’m portraying that. I’m just trying to ask questions, and so it’s thank God you were able to say those kinds of things, because it allowed me to step back and go oh wow, I didn’t know I was doing that. I think that’s the other thing. People don’t know they’re projecting or saying things or their body. We weren’t even on FaceTime. No, I’m surprised.
0:49:18 – Speaker 1
I was like that was a first Usually. That’s why you make me be on FaceTime. I gotta see everyone. I gotta check every little eyebrow Right, right, right, right, and you’re like, normally you don’t respond like this and I’m like and what did I say? I said to you normally you don’t respond like this, and so I wanna know what I’m doing that’s triggering the reaction that you’re having, exactly, and I’m like.
Why are you reacting like this? What the heck’s your problem? Why are you? I genuinely, because I care so much about you is like that’s not my girl, that’s it my girl, angry Right right, right right. Why is she angry?
0:49:51 – Speaker 2
And how do I need to take care?
0:49:52 – Speaker 1
of her. No, I know, and I loved when we talked about that, because we got very much to a place where I remember saying to you so many times, cause, god, I do know you so well.
0:50:03 – Speaker 2
I was on the phone and you ordered my food yesterday, which is really hilarious, cause I didn’t even tell you that’s what I wanted. Oh yeah, maybe to the restaurant, I know. And then she shows up. I’m like, oh okay.
0:50:13 – Speaker 1
Yeah, I know she’s like are you guys ready? I’m like yeah, we are ready. You’re on the phone. I just ordered exactly what you wanted. Yeah, this is what we’re having Hilarious.
0:50:22 – Speaker 2
Gosh, what was I just saying? Oh you, when I got really angry on the phone.
0:50:28 – Speaker 1
Oh yeah, oh, I remember, cause I know you so well. I remember saying I love you and I know we’re going to get through this. Just so we’re clear. You know I’m not mad, right? You know I’m just really curious about figuring this out. Right, because I knew that if I made that shift into we’re going here and now we’re talking about the process in this moment, which you’ve been very clear that you hate, right Cause I don’t want to talk about it. Right Cause I needed to provide these prompts for you over and over again, where I was like we good, we’re all set, love you, it’s okay. This is, isn’t this curious? Look at this. And I think that that we both have this desire to look at what it is that’s transpiring between the two of us in any given moment, but have that level of trust, so much between each other, that we it allows for that creativity and that curiosity to be able to be played with, as opposed to getting our defenses up, being incredibly upset with each other. You know, just recognizing in that moment.
0:51:29 – Speaker 2
But that’s where the vulnerability comes in, because with you not with most people I’m very okay with being like that is, I’m not good at this. I don’t know these answers. I need help. I don’t like this, whatever it is. I can say those things to you, a because I know those are the things you’re very, very good at. In fact, I think that was the end of the conversation. The conversation was we’re not going to continue to have these conversations with each other. We’re now going to approach this as a unit, because you are asking those questions that I don’t know to ask, but you’re asking me and making me feel like an idiot. So, instead of doing it that way, we’re just gonna go together as a unit and you can make the doctor feel like an idiot, exactly, and so that was the aha moment which I was very confused, because this entire time it’s not even like we’ve been separated.
You’ve been, I’ve had the phone on speaker, all the things. In fact, you come to all my doctor’s appointments with me.
0:52:31 – Speaker 1
I know, I know.
0:52:31 – Speaker 2
So remember the one time we were at your doctor’s appointment and the doctor turns to me and asks me questions about what’s going on for you, and you’re just sitting there like or that time when I cut my finger and decided to go to sleep and you called oh, my nurse advice line, yes, your nurse advice line, and pretended to be me, yes, and they asked when was your last tetanus shot?
0:52:54 – Speaker 1
And I spouted it off.
0:52:56 – Speaker 2
Your husband is listening.
0:52:57 – Speaker 1
Yeah, I spouted off your last tetanus shot.
0:53:00 – Speaker 2
Like it was my birthday yeah, cause I’m pretty sure you were with me and Mark’s like did you just make that date up?
0:53:07 – Speaker 1
I’m like, no, it’s absolutely the right date. He’s like you guys are next level. I know, you know, when she just got a tetanus shot he sure do I had to make sure you were gonna be okay, I know.
0:53:16 – Speaker 2
It was a bad finger cut.
0:53:17 – Speaker 1
I know, I know I love this. I love this so essentially.
0:53:21 – Speaker 2
But I think a lot of women, especially because they don’t want to appear less than or not good enough, even when you have the bestest of bestest, closest relationships Think about your relationship with your mom, like even your own mom or your whatever you never want to appear inadequate, so that’s where the defenses come in, and you don’t want to be vulnerable, is it that?
0:53:45 – Speaker 1
I think so. Is it that you don’t want to feel not good enough, or is it this? Sense of safety. Does it come down to safety?
0:54:01 – Speaker 2
But isn’t that not feeling good enough? Isn’t that the same thing? I don’t feel safe because now you’re gonna judge me cause I’m not good enough.
0:54:09 – Speaker 1
So the fear is judgment.
0:54:10 – Speaker 2
Yeah, hmm, I’m not gonna tell you my parenting style, because if you have an opinion about it, then I’m gonna feel like an idiot, cause I don’t feel strong enough that I can defend it.
0:54:21 – Speaker 1
You know, I’m using that as an example, yeah, yeah, cause we all know you’re real clear that your parenting style is next level.
0:54:28 – Speaker 2
Oh, I’m a hundred percent right in everything, In fact. In fact, you’ve even come to the dark side when you’ve attempted all of your therapeutic, loving, empathetic tactics and realized I’m surprised you didn’t have that recorded.
0:54:40 – Speaker 1
The other day when I said to you I’m gonna give you a little credit for your parenting style. I know it’s a little more right on than I thought it was before I know, I know, I will deny that.
0:54:49 – Speaker 2
No, it’s only because you’ve realized that it comes from a place of empathy. You can absolutely combine the two. That’s where it’s beautiful, I mean Well, that’s why it’s nice to be ants right, that’s right To our little, and we learn from each other right, you know, because your kids come over and they’re like I gotta talk to you and Erin about this.
0:55:09 – Speaker 1
Right, I know. And my kid who says what time is dinner? Here’s very clearly from you Dinner’s ready. When dinner’s ready, yeah right, take a seat. Don’t ask again and didn’t ask again. That’s right, Because he’s real clear.
0:55:21 – Speaker 2
He says I’m like what are you gonna ask?
0:55:24 – Speaker 1
You better be careful You’re gonna ask something, cause I’m real clear that I told you that dinner will be on the table when it’s on the table, right and I’m like about dinner.
0:55:32 – Speaker 2
Right, Right. Or when my daughter gets her cell phone taken away and she’s like well, mom, what happens if there’s an emergency and no one’s home? I said you go outside and you ring the ring doorbell and it goes right to my phone and you can tell me?
0:55:48 – Speaker 1
You have a problem, go talk to the doorbell. Talk to the doorbell. You’re not getting the phone back.
0:55:52 – Speaker 2
Right, just ways around this. But that’s why this works so well, right. And she’s like oh okay, no questions, no, oh okay, no, nope. Or Taylor, my oldest, will you go with me to the grocery store or will you go with me to the to Target to get some things? And my little one yells Taylor, I wouldn’t do it, you’re not gonna be getting anything. She’s real clear. But if Erin wants, to go shop in.
0:56:16 – Speaker 1
Both of them raise their hands. Yep, yep. Gonna get that colored in the cart. Everybody’s getting a slushie Right, right, that’s so great, not okay?
0:56:29 – Speaker 2
And then when I finally give in, I’m like well, it’s an extra small, erin’s like extra large, yeah right.
0:56:35 – Speaker 1
I’m like girls, do you want an extra small? They’re like we want a medium. I’m like give them a medium. No, give them a medium, they can’t. We did some good work here. I know I know I mean from starting a porn from an empty cut. We really got into some stuff today. I know Right. I hope people see themselves in what we talked about today I’ve probably seen themselves in me more than I know.
0:57:01 – Speaker 2
I know Apparently.
0:57:03 – Speaker 1
I mean guess there’s a new show. I mean let’s ask Scott Change the intro. Scott, you still with us? Who are you? Are you?
0:57:13 – Speaker 2
the empath.
0:57:14 – Speaker 3
I dropped out about 40 minutes ago. I’m kidding.
0:57:17 – Speaker 2
Are you the, are you the vulnerable empathy?
0:57:20 – Speaker 1
Yes Are you vulnerable with empathy? No, we have a corn.
0:57:23 – Speaker 3
Vulnerable without empathy or empathy with I identify with both of you in this situation.
0:57:27 – Speaker 2
Oh, really yeah. Would you have gone into the Target bathroom?
0:57:31 – Speaker 3
No, so I more identify with Becca then with Aaron, because, but, aaron, you and my wife will get along, famously because you are two peas in a pod. That’s what she would have done.
0:57:43 – Speaker 2
I love that. I can’t wait to meet her. That’s why Scott and I get along better, yep.
0:57:51 – Speaker 3
I forgot to start the timer too, so you guys are actually 10 minutes longer than 60 minutes. Oh.
0:57:56 – Speaker 2
God, this was a long one. It’s a bonus, it’s a bonus, yeah, yeah that’s how we turn that.
0:58:03 – Speaker 1
That’s right. Bonus for two. Did I Yep? I loved that Me too. Isn’t empathy amazing?
0:58:10 – Speaker 2
Well, we’re amazing. I don’t know about all this empathy stuff.
0:58:14 – Speaker 1
That’s fine. I accept you wherever you are. Oh God, I love you. I love you too, and if you love us, please like and subscribe to More Love the power of empathy podcast, wherever you get your podcasts. See you next time.

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